Safety and Health Reporter
Brien Roche Law > Blog > Professional Negligence > How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer?

How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer?

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses How do I find a legal malpractice lawyer

Brien Roche

How do I find a legal malpractice lawyer? It may well be the easiest way is to check with friends or relatives. See if they have ever used a lawyer for pursuing a legal malpractice case. If they have then inquire as to the nature of the experience. If those friends or relatives recommend an attorney then your first course of action should be to contact that attorney. Hopefully that moves you along in answering the question of how do I find a legal malpractice lawyer.

How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer-Lawyers.com

There are a number of referral sources that are otherwise available. An excellent source is a website that is run by a company known as Martindale Hubbell. That website is lawyers.com.

Once at that website you can key in the geographical locale and legal specialty you are interested in. A number of lawyers and law firms should come up on the results page. The advantage of using the Martindale Hubbell website is that this company is the premier lawyer rating service in the country. Their rating system is a peer rating system. That means that you have lawyers in the community who are rating other lawyers in that same community. The ratings are A, B, C. An A rating is the best. This rating system is not foolproof but it is the best rating system out there. Martindale Hubbell reports that no more than 10% of the attorneys are given an A rating.

There are also some popular publications that reference superlawyers. The superlawyers publication is an advertisement. I have periodically looked at that publication and indeed most of the lawyers in there are very fine attorneys.

If you’re not satisfied with what you find in Martindale Hubbell then of course you can go to any of the search engines and key in your own search inquiry.

Most local bar associations also have lawyer referral services that frequently are quite good. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer-Experience Counts

Once you have focused on one or more attorneys that you think may be appropriate you should interview each of them and feel free to ask whatever questions you have.

There are not that many attorneys who have tried a large number of legal malpractice cases. Although I have handled hundreds of such cases I have never tried a legal malpractice case to conclusion. I like to think that is because I exercise good judgment in screening cases. Also I try to exercise good judgment in picking clients and good judgment in how I’m going to approach the case. It’s been my experience over the years, with one exception, that where attorneys have committed malpractice they admit it. They step up to the plate and pay what is due. I can’t say that that is true with my experience in medical malpractice cases. In this area doctors will fight the patient’s claim tooth and nail. Even if their liability may be clear.

How many legal malpractice cases a lawyer has tried to conclusion I do not believe should be your criterion for picking a lawyer. Any attorney who handles these types of cases knows that they are probably the most difficult of all the forms of litigation that exist. Within a legal malpractice case involving litigation you have to prove the case within the case. Then you have to prove the case itself i.e. the legal malpractice. Likewise some attorneys who handle legal malpractice cases do not fully appreciate the significant burden that exist as to causation. As explained elsewhere on this site that hurdle can be significant.

In A Legal Malpractice Case Who Is Potentially Liable-A Broad Brush Approach

In a legal malpractice case who is potentially liable is a question that must be answered before suit is filed. The most obvious answer to the question is that the attorney who handled the matter for the client is liable. If the lawyer works for a law firm then the law firm may be liable. If the law firm is a general partnership then all of the partners may be liable. In most cases the law firm is going to be a limited liability partnership which means that only the partnership is liable. The individual partners are not liable. The same principle applies if the law firm is a professional corporation. If the law firm is a sole proprietorship owned by the individual lawyer then by suing the individual lawyer you’ve also sued the law firm.

If there was more than one attorney involved in the case then each lawyer may be liable. Where there was another law firm that referred you to the law firm that wound up handling the matter then that referring law firm may be liable.

If the law firm that handled the matter for you has a partnership agreement with another law firm for the handling of matters like yours then that other law firm may also be liable. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Things To Review

To determine whether or not there are other persons or entities that may be potentially liable to you there are several things that need to be analyzed:

What The Law Firm Says

Things to look at:

  • The letterhead of the law firm.
  • Who has signed any pleadings or court documents on your behalf.
  • Any articles of organization or incorporation of any of the law firms associated with your case.
  • The website of each law firm associated with your case

What Others Say

Any documents you can get from the legal malpractice insurance carrier insuring the lawyer and/or law firm handling your matter may be helpful.

Ideally all of these things should be reviewed prior to the filing of a legal malpractice action. In some instances not all of them are available prior to suit. They should become available during the discovery process once a lawsuit has been filed.

When Is The Attorney Client Relationship Formed-No Retainer

The answer to that question typically is based on when the contract is formed. The attorney-client relationship is a contract. That contract may be in writing. In the alternative the contract may be oral. Either one is enforceable.

There may be cases where the client does not fully appreciate that a contract has been signed. The attorney however should appreciate that. If a lawyer gives you legal advice then at that point there probably is a professional relationship.The fact that you have not paid the attorney makes no difference. The fact that the attorney did not ask for payment makes no difference. A contract however has been entered into.

Keep in mind that a contract is an offer being made which is then accepted and there is a passing of some consideration. Consideration is the quid pro quo. The quid pro quo is the meat of the deal. In the above example the potential client asked for advice and the attorney gave it. The consideration is the reliance by the client on the advice. Or it may be the expectation by the lawyer that the advice is going to lead to the payment of a fee. Either way the attorney-client relationship has probably been created.

When Is The Attorney Client Relationship Formed-Retainer

The more typical example of the creation of an attorney-client relationship is where a formal written retainer agreement is signed by both parties. That retainer agreement may be called such or it may be simply a letter that the attorney sends to the client. This letter may set forth the terms of the representation. That letter then becomes the contract even though it may not have been signed by the client.

In dealing with lawyers it is wise to make sure that a formal written retainer agreement is signed. That way you know what to expect of the lawyer. Also you know what the attorney expects of you. Keep in mind that any agreement is a two-way street. You have expectations of the lawyer. The lawyer has expectations of you. Those should be defined in writing.

Precisely when the attorney-client relationship is formed may have some bearing on claims you may have against the attorney. If the relationship was never formed then there may be no basis for a claim. This may be true even though you think the lawyer may have been representing you. As mentioned above typically when the relationship arose is going to be governed by when the agreement was entered into.

When the relationship ends can also be important because in some instances that may govern when your statute of limitations begins to run. That is, the statute controls when you must file suit. Most lawyers will send a closing letter to the client saying that the representation has ended. That is not required but it is a good practice. If the lawyer has not done that then typically the representation ends when the attorney has finished the task that is the subject of the retainer agreement. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

How Does Multiple Representation Impact The Attorney Client Relationship?

Suppose the attorney you are thinking of suing is handling several different matters for you. In that case when does the representation end?

That can be a tricky issue. The better practice is to operate on the premise that the statute limitations begins to run when the damage is done. Typically the damage is done when the attorney renders the substandard performance.

If the substandard performance is failure to call a necessary witness during trial which then results in the loss of the case, the damage is done when the verdict is rendered. The substandard performance may have occurred earlier than the verdict date but at that point there was no actual damage. In that instance, the better practice would be to operate on the premise that the limitation began to run on the date of the verdict. That may be a somewhat conservative view of this issue but it is better to be safe than sorry.

The statute of limitations is an absolute bar to recovery. If it is not complied with the case is lost. There is no sense in hedging your bets on that issue.

Using A Closing Letter To End Attorney Client Relationship

Many attorneys will formally end the attorney client relationship with a closing letter. That closing letter formally concludes the relationship. It leaves no doubt as to when the relationship ended.

It makes no sense to allow the attorney client relationship to continue if you are considering making a claim against the lawyer. For instance, if you allow the attorney to continue handling some matters for you when you have retained other counsel to sue that attorney then that fact may be used against you in your legal malpractice claim. It is best to avoid that.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.For more information on how do I find a legal malpractice lawyer and legal malpractice in general see the other pages on this site and see the pages on Wikipedia.

Comments are closed.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer?

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses How do I find a legal malpractice lawyer

Brien Roche

How do I find a legal malpractice lawyer? It may well be the easiest way is to check with friends or relatives. See if they have ever used a lawyer for pursuing a legal malpractice case. If they have then inquire as to the nature of the experience. If those friends or relatives recommend an attorney then your first course of action should be to contact that attorney. Hopefully that moves you along in answering the question of how do I find a legal malpractice lawyer.

How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer-Lawyers.com

There are a number of referral sources that are otherwise available. An excellent source is a website that is run by a company known as Martindale Hubbell. That website is lawyers.com.

Once at that website you can key in the geographical locale and legal specialty you are interested in. A number of lawyers and law firms should come up on the results page. The advantage of using the Martindale Hubbell website is that this company is the premier lawyer rating service in the country. Their rating system is a peer rating system. That means that you have lawyers in the community who are rating other lawyers in that same community. The ratings are A, B, C. An A rating is the best. This rating system is not foolproof but it is the best rating system out there. Martindale Hubbell reports that no more than 10% of the attorneys are given an A rating.

There are also some popular publications that reference superlawyers. The superlawyers publication is an advertisement. I have periodically looked at that publication and indeed most of the lawyers in there are very fine attorneys.

If you’re not satisfied with what you find in Martindale Hubbell then of course you can go to any of the search engines and key in your own search inquiry.

Most local bar associations also have lawyer referral services that frequently are quite good. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

How Do I Find A Legal Malpractice Lawyer-Experience Counts

Once you have focused on one or more attorneys that you think may be appropriate you should interview each of them and feel free to ask whatever questions you have.

There are not that many attorneys who have tried a large number of legal malpractice cases. Although I have handled hundreds of such cases I have never tried a legal malpractice case to conclusion. I like to think that is because I exercise good judgment in screening cases. Also I try to exercise good judgment in picking clients and good judgment in how I’m going to approach the case. It’s been my experience over the years, with one exception, that where attorneys have committed malpractice they admit it. They step up to the plate and pay what is due. I can’t say that that is true with my experience in medical malpractice cases. In this area doctors will fight the patient’s claim tooth and nail. Even if their liability may be clear.

How many legal malpractice cases a lawyer has tried to conclusion I do not believe should be your criterion for picking a lawyer. Any attorney who handles these types of cases knows that they are probably the most difficult of all the forms of litigation that exist. Within a legal malpractice case involving litigation you have to prove the case within the case. Then you have to prove the case itself i.e. the legal malpractice. Likewise some attorneys who handle legal malpractice cases do not fully appreciate the significant burden that exist as to causation. As explained elsewhere on this site that hurdle can be significant.

In A Legal Malpractice Case Who Is Potentially Liable-A Broad Brush Approach

In a legal malpractice case who is potentially liable is a question that must be answered before suit is filed. The most obvious answer to the question is that the attorney who handled the matter for the client is liable. If the lawyer works for a law firm then the law firm may be liable. If the law firm is a general partnership then all of the partners may be liable. In most cases the law firm is going to be a limited liability partnership which means that only the partnership is liable. The individual partners are not liable. The same principle applies if the law firm is a professional corporation. If the law firm is a sole proprietorship owned by the individual lawyer then by suing the individual lawyer you’ve also sued the law firm.

If there was more than one attorney involved in the case then each lawyer may be liable. Where there was another law firm that referred you to the law firm that wound up handling the matter then that referring law firm may be liable.

If the law firm that handled the matter for you has a partnership agreement with another law firm for the handling of matters like yours then that other law firm may also be liable. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Things To Review

To determine whether or not there are other persons or entities that may be potentially liable to you there are several things that need to be analyzed:

What The Law Firm Says

Things to look at:

  • The letterhead of the law firm.
  • Who has signed any pleadings or court documents on your behalf.
  • Any articles of organization or incorporation of any of the law firms associated with your case.
  • The website of each law firm associated with your case

What Others Say

Any documents you can get from the legal malpractice insurance carrier insuring the lawyer and/or law firm handling your matter may be helpful.

Ideally all of these things should be reviewed prior to the filing of a legal malpractice action. In some instances not all of them are available prior to suit. They should become available during the discovery process once a lawsuit has been filed.

When Is The Attorney Client Relationship Formed-No Retainer

The answer to that question typically is based on when the contract is formed. The attorney-client relationship is a contract. That contract may be in writing. In the alternative the contract may be oral. Either one is enforceable.

There may be cases where the client does not fully appreciate that a contract has been signed. The attorney however should appreciate that. If a lawyer gives you legal advice then at that point there probably is a professional relationship.The fact that you have not paid the attorney makes no difference. The fact that the attorney did not ask for payment makes no difference. A contract however has been entered into.

Keep in mind that a contract is an offer being made which is then accepted and there is a passing of some consideration. Consideration is the quid pro quo. The quid pro quo is the meat of the deal. In the above example the potential client asked for advice and the attorney gave it. The consideration is the reliance by the client on the advice. Or it may be the expectation by the lawyer that the advice is going to lead to the payment of a fee. Either way the attorney-client relationship has probably been created.

When Is The Attorney Client Relationship Formed-Retainer

The more typical example of the creation of an attorney-client relationship is where a formal written retainer agreement is signed by both parties. That retainer agreement may be called such or it may be simply a letter that the attorney sends to the client. This letter may set forth the terms of the representation. That letter then becomes the contract even though it may not have been signed by the client.

In dealing with lawyers it is wise to make sure that a formal written retainer agreement is signed. That way you know what to expect of the lawyer. Also you know what the attorney expects of you. Keep in mind that any agreement is a two-way street. You have expectations of the lawyer. The lawyer has expectations of you. Those should be defined in writing.

Precisely when the attorney-client relationship is formed may have some bearing on claims you may have against the attorney. If the relationship was never formed then there may be no basis for a claim. This may be true even though you think the lawyer may have been representing you. As mentioned above typically when the relationship arose is going to be governed by when the agreement was entered into.

When the relationship ends can also be important because in some instances that may govern when your statute of limitations begins to run. That is, the statute controls when you must file suit. Most lawyers will send a closing letter to the client saying that the representation has ended. That is not required but it is a good practice. If the lawyer has not done that then typically the representation ends when the attorney has finished the task that is the subject of the retainer agreement. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

How Does Multiple Representation Impact The Attorney Client Relationship?

Suppose the attorney you are thinking of suing is handling several different matters for you. In that case when does the representation end?

That can be a tricky issue. The better practice is to operate on the premise that the statute limitations begins to run when the damage is done. Typically the damage is done when the attorney renders the substandard performance.

If the substandard performance is failure to call a necessary witness during trial which then results in the loss of the case, the damage is done when the verdict is rendered. The substandard performance may have occurred earlier than the verdict date but at that point there was no actual damage. In that instance, the better practice would be to operate on the premise that the limitation began to run on the date of the verdict. That may be a somewhat conservative view of this issue but it is better to be safe than sorry.

The statute of limitations is an absolute bar to recovery. If it is not complied with the case is lost. There is no sense in hedging your bets on that issue.

Using A Closing Letter To End Attorney Client Relationship

Many attorneys will formally end the attorney client relationship with a closing letter. That closing letter formally concludes the relationship. It leaves no doubt as to when the relationship ended.

It makes no sense to allow the attorney client relationship to continue if you are considering making a claim against the lawyer. For instance, if you allow the attorney to continue handling some matters for you when you have retained other counsel to sue that attorney then that fact may be used against you in your legal malpractice claim. It is best to avoid that.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.For more information on how do I find a legal malpractice lawyer and legal malpractice in general see the other pages on this site and see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation